DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Denton will draw statewide attention Tuesday as it considers a petition to become the first city in Texas to ban fracking. If approved, the ban could have a ripple effect not only in the state but across the nation.
City council meetings generally don’t attract a huge crowd but Tuesday should be an exception. In fact, Denton is preparing an overflow room for attendees.
Some 500 people are expected to show up as the council a petition to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas.
Ed Ireland, the executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council said, “I think a lot of people are saying, that’s never happened in Texas. I mean, this is Texas. We’re an oil and gas state.”
Ireland is set to speak before council Tuesday, presenting a study of the ban’s potential impact commissioned by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
An economic research firm, The Perryman Group, released the report Monday, one day shy of an expected council vote, claiming a ban could cause “significant economic and fiscal harm.”
The study found the City of Denton would lose more than $250 million in business over the next 10 years, while the rest of the county and state would lose an additional $103 million.
“It has an impact on the state budget. The city of Denton is not isolated from what goes on beyond its borders,” said Ireland.
Denton City Council Kevin Roden, however, believes the study overstates its findings. “If we stop fracking tomorrow, our economy is not going to implode,” he said.
According to Roden, less than two-percent of the city’s property tax revenue come from natural gas and less than .3-percent of the city’s jobs are in the oil and gas industry.
Questioning the Fort Worth Chamber’s interest in Denton, Roden posted a map online showing where oil and gas company headquarters are located.
The city leader also floated a counter argument that a ban on fracking could result in an economic boom. “If you’re looking to attract young people and the jobs that come along with them, tech jobs, for instance, a city that is pro-environment is something that you want,” he said.
The Denton City Council will have three options at the meeting Tuesday – it can tomorrow adopt the ban as an ordinance dismiss it, or let voters decide at the polls in November.
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